Career networking is essential to your career, whether you’re looking for a job, currently employed or working for yourself as an entrepreneur.
Here are several networking tips that may be useful in your online and offline career search and career management efforts:
- Think of networking as building relationships and friendships with others. Typical relationships have an element of reciprocity where you give and take with each other as a type of help and support.
- You are in a constant state of nurturing your existing network and building it as you meet new people.
- To nurture your existing network, you should maintain a fairly consistent level of contact. The level of contact can be as simple as a text or email or as involved as a lunch date. Timing for the contact should be based on the type of relationship. The more intimate the relationship such as close friend could be as frequent as multiple times per week while business contacts could be monthly or bi-monthly.
- If you feel your network is too small to adequately support a good job search, you will need to make a deliberate plan and goal for expanding.
- To expand your network, align yourself with groups both online and offline that you share an interest or affinity with. When you have something in common it is easier to form a relationship.
- When you are new to a group, don’t try to “work the room”. Making contact with too many people at the same event will only give you superficial contact and doesn’t support much follow on connection. Focus on making deep contact with 3-5 people that you can follow up with.
- When you’re in an online group, if you read something you like, let the writer know you did and be specific with your feedback. This is a fast and easy way to start establishing relationships.
- Start a file to collect articles and website links to share with your network. It’s a good way to have something to share when you least expect to need it. You can also become known as the “go to” person for cool information.
- Just like everything else in life, not everyone you meet will you want to maintain contact with. You won’t click with everyone you meet.
- Your network will be your source for possible referrals for jobs or access within companies. Realize that not everyone is comfortable giving referrals. This is not a reflection of their regard for you.
- When reestablishing a contact with someone you knew in the past a good starter question is to ask them what they have been doing since you last had contact.
- It has been said that the most successful people are those people who connect people to each other. Be prepared to introduce people you know and meet to other people you know that you think might be mutually beneficial.
- Don’t force a conversation on a busy person. If you call someone ask them it if is a good time to talk.
- Don’t give your resume to someone too early in the relationship or it will feel like you are using them.
- When meeting new people consider asking them for coffee soon after meeting to further expand your knowledge of them.
- Keep in mind that all referrals are valuable.
This tip sheet was provided to you by MBA Highway. We hope you have found it useful to your job search and career development.